In form Banbridge took the spoils in this frost bound encounter at Stevenson Park on Thursday night.
Each side scored two tries but it was the County Down men who took their chances better throughout the game. Former Ulster player, Ian Porter was man of the match and he added the extras to an early try from lock Chris Allen.
The home side gained some territory from an unclaimed restart but small errors allowed Bann to break away. However, they were penalised for accidental offside when trying to keep a move alive and the quick thinking of Peter Cashel allowed him to take a quick tap in the vicinity of the mark and run in unopposed from the half way line to score under the posts. Jake Finlay added the conversion to tie the scores after nine minutes.
Both sides continued to attack at every opportunity and the conditions, which were making ball retention difficult, resulted in numerous turnovers.
It was Banbridge who came closest to getting the next try however and were unlucky not to get over the line from a series of repeated drives but were awarded a penalty which Porter despatched from just inside the 22 on 17 minutes.
Banbridge continued to press and winger John Porter was hauled down just short due to an excellent covering tackle from Darren Simpson who covered a similar 50m distance across the field to that which Porter had advanced up the field.
The home side turned the tables from the scrum when Paul Magee made an age defying outside break which took play to the half way line when perhaps the wrong option was taken due to the multitude of players keen to take on the possession. Banbridge cleared the danger and went on an assault of the Dungannon line once more. This time skipper Derek Hall ripped the ball clean from the hands of Jonny Graham as he picked from the base of the 5m scrum.
Hall took play to the 10m line where he linked with back row partner James McMahon who almost made it to the line only to try an offload just as the third defender jumped on his back. The half ended 7-10.
The second half began with the welcome return of club captain, Mark Jenkinson but his return spurred his opposite number into action; Allen was first receiver from a quick tap from Porter with Dungannon caught napping inside their own 22. Allen touched down to complete his brace and Porter added the conversion.
The home side continued to allow Banbridge into the game through the high number of handling errors and when they infringed again inside their own 22, Ian Porter stretched the Bann lead on 51 minutes, 7-20.
Dungannon then began to control possession better and were almost rewarded from a good break by Simpson but Porter was on hand to field Darren’s chip kick inside the 22.
The home side kept up the pressure from the lineout and after a couple of phases were rewarded when Finlay sent McMahon in at the corner. The conversion was missed but Dungannon were now just eight points adrift.
The introduction of Stuart McCloskey almost brought instant dividends as he broke the line from inside his own 22 but an ever so slightly wayward chip kick beat everyone into touch.
Dungannon were still chasing the game and whilst the ball was beginning to stick, the visitors’ defence was resolute. McCloskey did have a chance with a late penalty but that fell wide and Banbridge finished as deserved 20-12 winners.
Dungannon: Mark O’Shea, Darren Simpson, Mark Faloon, Paul Magee, Peter Cashel, Jaryd Bennett, Jake Finlay, James McMahon, Derek Hall, Michael Dunleavy, Paul McCarroll, Plunkett McCallan, Mark Farquhar, Jeremy Turkington, Glen Sinnamon. Subs: Steven Sinnamon, Charlie Sargaisson, Mark Jenkinson, Sean Conway, Stuart McCloskey
Banbridge: Ashley Finlay, John Porter, Andrew Morrison, James Andrews, Andy Kirkwood, Gregg Taylor, Ian Porter, Jonny Graham, Ryan Patterson, Dale Carson, Simon McKinstry, Chris Allen, Michael Cromie, Jonny Murphy, David Weir. Subs: James McCrum, Peter Cromie, Alan Conn, Jonny Little, Matthew McDonald
Referee: Robbie Watson (Enniskillen)